Politics, yes you have to understand the politics behind the Lib Dem proposals for constitutional reform of the House of Lords, it is not about democracy or fairness but about the future of the Lib Dem Party, it is not about government on behalf of the people but government in spite of the people!
That is not to say that the House of Lords is not ready for reform, it is, politics is fluid and constantly changing to keep up with the changes in culture but this is not about a progressive constitution, it is about power, ambition and greed.
When the Lib Dem’s negotiated the coalition agreement they completely out negotiated the Conservative Party and got included really the only 2 bits of legislation they really wanted, a vote on AV (a form of Proportional Representation PR) and House of Lords reform based on an elected chamber again using PR.
In the event the politics of the negotiation meant that over 65% of the Lib Dem manifesto was implemented whilst cherished Conservative policies on Human Rights, Europe, Taxation, NHS were either watered down or dropped, so good was the Lib Dem negotiating team particularly when considering they only had 15% of the seats in parliament but we digress. Further reading
Thankfully David Cameron was instructed by his party to oppose the Alternative Vote (AV) voting system and it was roundly rejected by the electorate so the Lib Dem’s are now battling for their second attempt to force PR on this country.
This means that the power is with the smaller party often with only 10/15% of the vote, again minorities rule, this effectively gives the third-party permanent power just switching between the 2 main parties.
PR is sold as a more democratic voting system, giving each and every vote equal weight but in reality it is a voting system designed to keep politicians in power with little accountability, a PR system almost always produces a hung parliament with the third smaller party holding the balance of power, as we have currently although thankfully the First Past the Post voting system only rarely produces a hung parliament.
This means that the power is with the smaller party often with only 10/15% of the vote, again minorities rule, this effectively gives the third-party permanent power just switching between the 2 main parties, this would give the Lib Dem’s a permanent place in power whatever the outcome of the general election and if they had got both their proposals through, AV + Lords reform, that would have been in both houses. With PR even manifesto’s are redundant because policy is decided after the election during the coalition negotiations so you don’t know what you are voting for and you can’t get rid of them very easily, anti-democratic and dangerous!
The politics of House of Lords reform is particularly dangerous because up until now the House of Lords is just a revising chamber where it scrutinises government legislation, revising it, ensuring it is drafted correctly and standing up to the House of Commons on behalf of the people, these are all jobs it does particularly well but these new proposals give it a new legitimacy it does not need without safeguards safeguarding the primacy of the House of Commons.
PR is sold as a more democratic voting system, giving each and every vote equal weight but in reality it is a voting system designed to keep politicians in power with little accountability
The new revised House of Lords, voted for on a PR basis, would obviously push for more Ministers in the Lords, you could even have the Prime Minister in the Lords and with our third-party being the Lib Dem’s, an extreme left of centre party, it opens up the real possibility of the House of Lords being permanently a socialist majority with no hope of shifting it, can you imagine the clashes with the Commons, a Conservative Government could easily be made impotent but that is what they want, permanentt left-wing government without accountability which is what Blair tried to create.
Yes the House of Lords is ripe for reform, I for instance think an attendance level should be a qualification for voting but we should be very careful about an elected chamber and if we do have an elected chamber it should be on our current First Past the Post system with tight safeguards to ensure the primacy of the Commons, do not be swayed by the Lib Dem waffle as it is utterly self-serving!